Difference Between a Renewable & Recyclable Resource

Difference Between a Renewable & Recyclable Resource
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Renewable and recyclable resources are both factors in reducing our environmental impact. While some sources can be both renewable and recyclable, they are not exactly the same.

Renewable Definition

According to the Earth911 glossary, a renewable resource is one that naturally restores or replenishes itself. It is constantly available without human or other outside influences.

Recyclable Definition

On the other hand, a recyclable resource is one that can be used over and over, but must first go through a process to prepare it for re-use. The process can be human-driven or naturally occurring.

Renewable Examples

Solar power and wind energy are excellent examples of renewable resources. Both can be harnessed for energy uses. They occur naturally and on an ongoing basis.

Recyclable Examples

Glass and aluminum are examples of recyclable resources. The bottles and cans made from them can be re-processed into new products. There is no limit to the number of times these products can be recycled.


Water can be considered a recyclable resource since it must go through the process of precipitation and evaporation in order to be reused. In addition, water can also be renewable in the form of hydroelectric energy.